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Sj visit 2017   

   Thursday July 20 Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

One of tw's co-workers swung by to pick up his grading first thing in the morning, much to tw's delight as it meant he didn't have to head to work quite as early as he would otherwise have needed to.

Ts headed to work for the day and the rest of us headed to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, which turned out to be a fantastic park showcasing all sorts of interesting plants. It also had a short 6 part mission series which s/j decided to do as mission series typically tend to be good ways to explore attractions of this nature.

Like seemingly everything in Cape Town the garden had been built on land that was originally donated by Cecil Rhodes. A philanthropist who was now somewhat controversial thanks to his feelings on race and the fact that legislation he championed laid the groundwork for apartheid.

Despite this the gardens were lovely with views of the mountains that grew more and more impressive all day as the clouds began to lift and it became possible to see more of them. All impressed by the canopy walk that featured a bridge that took you through the canopies of some of the trees for a closer look. While none of us all that interested in a closeup look at tree canopies we appreciated the bridge itself and the way it snaked back and forth and blended into its environment.

Other features of the park included a section of fragrant plants, another on useful and medicinal plants. Loved the sign reminding visitors that diagnosis and dosage were critical and that one should take herbal remedies responsibly and under the care of a doctor.

Had lunch at what turned out to be a really nice little cafe and returned there for afternoon tea and scones after visiting the sculpture garden, the feynbos, the dinosaurs, and walking the water path.


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The avenue of camphor trees

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They had just cut one down and the smell of camphor was overpowering and wonderful.

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The smell was very evocative of Rosemary's camphor chest.

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Helmeted guinea fowl -  -- Helmeted guinea fowl.

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A candidate for Little Old Man Weekly, how to carry your garden trimmings.

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The clouds before they began to lift.

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Egyptian goose - Egyptian goose aka zombie goose

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Hadada Ibis -  or Hadeda Ibis

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All impressed by the canopy walk

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The clouds began to lift.

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Had lunch at what turned out to be a really nice little cafe

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The cycads garden.

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One of the few Wood's cycad caged so it can't escape.

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More cycads with representations of their contemporaries, the dinosaurs.

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The walking water path.

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Not sure why we liked this so much as waterlogged paths are rather common where we come from.

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Egyptian goose - Egyptian goose aka zombie goose

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Common quail - Common quail

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The views of the mountains grew more and more impressive all day as the clouds began to lift

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The feynbos

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Loved the sign reminding visitors that diagnosis and dosage were critical.

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Had been keeping an eye on Table Mountain all day day as thanks to our plans for the weekend and the fact that the Cable car would close for annual maintenance the following week, to-day would be our last chance to visit the mountain. While it still wasn't clear of clouds there were occasional breaks. Decided to take a chance on it and piled into the car to head to the Cable car station. Arriving about 15 minutes before the last car departed for the day. An extra hour before the last down car but if you missed it you had to walk down so everyone keeping an anxious eye on the time once we made it to the top.

What an interesting environment, a flat rocky area with shrubs growing up anywhere that wasn't pure rock. As the sides of the mountain essentially plunged right down lots of look out spots from which to appreciate the view. Dassies/Rock hyrax Dassies/Rock hyrax also in attendance. Walked around for a bit, following the simple tourist paths, all in agreement that we would have liked the opportunity to range further but glad we'd gotten to do it at all.


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First thing to be seen off the cable car were the Dassies/Rock hyrax Dassies/Rock hyrax.

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Tw had convinced us that they were addicted to nictine from all the tourist cigarrette ends that they eat.


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A flat rocky area with shrubs growing up anywhere that wasn't pure rock.

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Cj was very surprised to find that the top was actually flat. All his past experience of similar topographies being that when you actually get there they are anything BUT flat.
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Overlooking the Cape Town side.

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Had no idea that ra suffered from Acrophobia.

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We head back to the cable car overlooking the other side.

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Not scary at all now we are back at the bottom.

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The 1958 car.

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Ra not sure if she would have liked this in 1958.

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Devil's Peak

Down into town to visit the women's market once we'd made it off the mountain. Women's market basically a building selling a variety of souvenir items that could only possibly appeal to tourists. Haggling apparently the way it was done but none of us any good at it or with much interest in doing it. Not at all the kind of shopping experience sj approves of as it was both high pressure with sales ladies following you around and trying to interest you in one thing after another, and no set prices. Nevertheless everyone bought at least one thing and then sj horrifying everyone by giving one of the artists a small tip for no reason at all.

Artist in question made large scale drawings of people rendered entirely in beads glued to a piece of fabric. For the most part the art was really large and quite striking. Sj not interested in actually having one of the pieces but she wanted to express her appreciation for the work that must go into them and take a couple of photos.


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Artist in question made large scale drawings of people.

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Nelson Mandella

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Rendered entirely in beads glued to a piece of fabric.

Our purchases complete we headed back to the house from where we walked a few blocks to the Banana Jam Cafe a Caribbean restaurant for dinner.

One of the strange cultural phenomenas of South Africa was the number of self appointed parking assistants who operate all over the city. While by no means an official job, parking assistants would wear bright yellow safety vests and help to direct cars into and out of spaces while parking. In exchange grateful drivers would tip the assistant a few rand when they departed.

While this seemed dodgy to us foreigners, tw of the opinion that the parking assistants well worth the price as they deterred other people from breaking into cars, for the simple reason that nobody whose car has just been burgled would bother to tip them.

Cj of the opinion that parking territory probably fiercely protected, but while parking assistants might not have approved of interlopers on their turf, they were very polite to their customers.

Such it was that when we exited the restaurant, a parking monitor rushed forward to enquire as to whether we'd had a nice evening, he seemed very disappointed to learn that we'd walked there.




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